Director of Nixon library, expert on Cold War, espionage to lecture at Cornell

MOUNT VERNON — The new director of the Nixon Presidential Library and a renowned scholar on the Cold War and espionage will speak at Cornell College on Thursday, Feb. 15.

“Why Are We Scared?: Real and Imagined Dangers in the Cold War and Today” is the lecture to be delivered by Timothy Naftali at 7 p.m. in King Chapel. Admission is free. The address is Cornell’s 2007 Eric C. Kollman Memorial Lecture. Following his talk, Naftali will sign copies of his latest work, “Khrushchev’s Cold War,” at a reception in Cole Library.

Naftali is the newly appointed director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Previously he was associate professor of history at the University of Virginia and director of the Presidential Recordings Program at the university’s Miller Center for Public Affairs, which is responsible for transcribing telephone conversations and meetings secretly recorded by Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon during their tenures in the White House.

Naftali has served as a historical consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice on the Nazi War Crimes and Imperial Japanese Government Records Interagency Working Group, helping to facilitate the declassification of all official records pertaining to U.S. knowledge of Nazi war crimes and war criminals. He also assisted in declassifying official records for the 9/11 Commission.

His other publications include “Blindspot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism” (2005), “U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis” (2004; 2005), “The Presidential Recordings: John F. Kennedy, Volumes 1 & 2” (2001) and “One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-1964” (1997).

The Eric C. Kollman Lecture honors the distinguished history professor who taught at Cornell from 1944 to 1973. Beginning in 1984, Cornell has held Kollman memorial lectures on topics of historical interest including the atomic bomb, 17th-century Jewish women and slavery in America. Naftali is the 14th speaker in the series.